Local Government Records | Wisconsin Historical Society

General Information

Local Government Records

Local Government Records | Wisconsin Historical Society

The Local Government Records Program assists local governments with the management of public records and ensures that historically significant records are transferred to the Wisconsin Historical Society for long-term preservation. Use the following links to learn more about the following topics: 


Digitization Project Guidance

Use the Digitization Project Guidance document guide you through the planning and implementation of a digitization project of local government records.  

Electronic Records

Visit the Electronic Records section to learn more on the resources available for managing electronic local government records.

Notifiying the Wisconsin Historical Society of Obsolete Records

Wisconsin Statutes state that the Wisconsin Historical Society be notified before any public record can be destroyed. Follow the link above to learn more about the notification process and how to properly handle obsolete public records. 

Records Management Guidelines

Learn about general guidelines and best practices for managing your local government records.


Records Schedules 

Records schedules are available for local governments to use in the management of their public records. The following are links to specific schedules for local units:

Wisconsin County General Records Schedule

The County General Records Schedule is available for downloading through the link to the Public Records Board website above. An introduction is also available for downloading on the same page. Included are general records schedules as well as specific schedules for County Clerks, County Treasurers, Register of Deeds, and District Attorneys. 

Wisconsin Municipal Records Schedule 

The Wisconsin Municipal Records Schedule is an adoptable schedule for use by cities, villages, towns, and other forms of local government. Please visit our website page linked above to learn more about the WMRS and how you can adopt it for use at your municipality. 

Wisconsin Courts (SCR 72)

The minimum retention of Wisconsin court records is determined by Chapter SCR 72. Please consult the Chapter for specific retention periods on these records. 

Specific schedules also exist for Wisconsin Public Libraries and Wisconsin School Districts. Visit the links provided to learn more about each schedule. 

Additional General Records Schedules are available for adoption by local units of government. Please visit the Wisconsin Public Records Board website for more information about other schedules and how you can apply them to your records.  



Access to Local Government and Court Records

Learn about how the Wisconsin Historical Society cares for and provides access to public records after they have been transferred to our holdings. 

Members of the public interested in accessing our local government records holdings should visit our Local Government Records collection webpage to learn about specific types of local records in our holdings.  



Local government units with questions on records retention and notification should contact the local government records archivsit at govarc@wisconsinhistory.org

Research and reference questions on particular records held by the Wisconsin Historical Society should be directed to the archives reference desk at askarchives@wisconsinhistory.org